Butlin's bars disabled teen from kids' show

A mum has spoken of her upset with Bognor Butlin's as it would not let her disabled son attend an event '˜because he was too old'.

Tuesday, 31st October 2017, 9:46 am
Updated Thursday, 7th June 2018, 6:50 pm
Vinny Holman and Catherine Guillossou at their home in Newhaven (Photo by Jon Rigby) SUS-171026-092321008

Catherine Guillossou, from Newhaven, wanted to take Vinny Holman to see his favourite artist Justin Fletcher, aka Mr Tumble.

She said: “I telephoned Butlin’s customer service and explained the situation. My son has suffered a brain injury at birth and although he is 16, his severe learning difficulties means his mind is like a four year old’s.”

Ms Guillossou, who is a health care worker, said customer services told her they had received the same request from other families but insisted the shows are for under fives only.

She added one staff member claimed ‘families who have booked the break would be unhappy to see older children’.

“Justin Fletcher is my son’s very favourite presenter, my son Vinny watches Mr Tumble DVD for hours, laughs and interacts with Mr Tumble,” she said.

“I have asked Butlin’s customer service why they don’t organise one of the dates in 2018 that would welcome older children who have learning difficulties, like my son, or other disabilities and would enjoy being part of Justin Fletcher’s show.

“I have telephoned Butlin’s twice on the subject but the customer service team leader doesn’t seem to be understanding nor interested in my suggestion.”

Ms Guillossou added it was ‘a very disappointing and upsetting experience’, especially as the character of Mr Tumble is ‘very much for inclusion of children with disabilities and additional needs but those children are not welcome at Butlin’s’.

A Butlin’s spokesman repeated that Justin Fletcher appears at the resort’s ‘Just for Tots’ breaks, which are for pre-school age children and their families.

They stated the resort ‘did our best to find an alternative’ for the family.

“We discussed all the options and explained that we would personally go through every step of the booking process with them.

“Having showed where they could be viewed in detail online, we said we’d leave the family to consider them at their leisure and if they were interested in booking any of them we would call back and help them.”

Ms Guilloussou said she was ‘astonished’ Butlin’s will not be flexible, ‘disappointed’ with the outcome and thought the exclusion was ‘incredibly unfair’.

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